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optimized spool gun procedures for aluminum

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  • optimized spool gun procedures for aluminum

    Does anyone have tips/tricks for achieving maximum aluminum weld quality with spool guns?

    Specifically I am using a Miller 211 MIG with the Spoolmate 100.

    I've already had the tube on the spoolmate rebored to fit standard tips like those for the regular gun.
    It has helped greatly in reducing tip damage.

    However, there have been long periods of time between projects that required aluminum welding so I end up forgetting what it was I did to achieve a nice bead. It usually involved a lot of practice time and melted tips...
    Especially after welding a lot of steel, the aluminum makes me feel like I have to relearn basics.

  • #2
    The best thing you can do is write down the settings on your last project. I go thru this too. By the time I get everything set right the job is done...Bob
    Bob Wright

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    • #3
      Spoolmate 100 - nozzle burn-back. Jamming.

      There is now a spoolmate 150 out that might have a different nozzle and might solve the problem. I was fortunate to buy mine from a dealer (MADCO, Mountain View, Ca - ken.madco<at>sbcglobal.net) who called the factory rep. I also have a Miller 211 and a Syncro 250 and they got it set up and running. Here's the deal.

      I tried this out on the syncrowave 250 and it worked great for 20 minutes. And then (same settings) we burned through four nozzles and one cup. So I took it to the miller dealer.

      Spool systems are finicky. The higher end ones (200) are less so. You will need to do some trial and error. When welding aluminum the temperature of the work increases - and sometimes this affects the feed. Problem with aluminum is it swells slightly and sometimes jams. Here is what the MADCO miller dealer told me. It was great because they spent 30 minutes making sure i understood it.

      Burnback
      Whenever you have tip burnback it means the voltage is too high. Start with the low end of the voltage suggestion and move up. But this may change as the work gets warmer.

      Stickout
      Always leave at least 5/8" stick-out. Why miller didn't include this in their manual (with warnings about other various strange things) I don't know. But the product was made in China and sot he product manager probably didn't see a need. The attached photo shows stick-out.

      Roller Tension
      Tension. If you see heavy ribbing on the wire coming out of the nozzle, back off on the tension. The ribbing will cause the wire to jam a bit more. You should feel a faint serration - but not massive cuts where the feed grabbed the wire. If you look hard at the attached photo you still can't see the little knurls on the wire. but you get the idea.

      Feed rate -
      you will need to play with this. It changed after things warmed up.

      Push don't drag
      It's hard to see the weld with MIG. The welder guru guy at MADCO that set this up says watch your angle and push the weld - don't drag it. Watch the angle - 15" degrees from top.

      Unjamming - the little plastic cap on onthe 100 pops off. Loosen one of the phillips screws on the roller and you can pull it out and **** around with the wire. These things tend to bird-nest. The 200 opens up much easier to fiddle with.

      Modification to other miller tips. It's possible to buy just the brass part and re-thread to 1/4-28. If you decide to go this way you could order the part separately and have a back-up.

      At this point I have yet to actually try this in the shop. Will update this post. We are doing all 3/8" 6061 square tubing. Again, last time i did this it worked out fine - easier 'n squirtin toothpaste. For 20 minutes.

      As for maximum quality - i don't think you'll get that with the spoolmate 100. It's great for tacking and laying out a lot of wire quickly but no substitute for TIG. Also - the miller manual left this out but never try welding while laying on your side. (i can't rotate the photo).

      Happy sparks !



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      • #4
        Performed AAMetalmaster mod on the nozzle, to cool to give such a detailed write-up. I have to admit I impressed myself with my POS drill press. Am i correct the optimism set up for the 100 is .035 wire with a .030 tip? Also how critical is the length of the inner liner "spring" should it be compressed by the tip when screwed in? Looks like I will need to trim mine about 1/4". What keep it from falling out when you change tips? Thanks for the help!!!!

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        • #5
          Performed AAMetalmaster mod on the nozzle, to cool to give such a detailed write-up. I have to admit I impressed myself with my POS drill press. Am i correct the optimism set up for the 100 is .035 wire with a .030 tip? Also how critical is the length of the inner liner "spring" should it be compressed by the tip when screwed in? Looks like I will need to trim mine about 1/4". What keep it from falling out when you change tips? Thanks for the help!!!!

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Mathew530 View Post
            Performed AAMetalmaster mod on the nozzle, to cool to give such a detailed write-up. I have to admit I impressed myself with my POS drill press. Am i correct the optimism set up for the 100 is .035 wire with a .030 tip? Also how critical is the length of the inner liner "spring" should it be compressed by the tip when screwed in? Looks like I will need to trim mine about 1/4". What keep it from falling out when you change tips? Thanks for the help!!!!
            Wrong - That's a .035" Tip , with .030" wire, Not the other way around !

            Norm
            www.normsmobilewelding.blogspot.com

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            • #7
              I believe AAmetalmaster recommended the .030 tip with the .035 wire. I know it sounds backwards, maybe he will chime in. There is another post which says the smaller tip gives better control. I appreciate the response and it is why I asked.

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              • #8
                I've always used a tip a size up from my wire size. But then again, I don't have a spool gun, just run 3/64 5356 through my MM250 with success.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Mathew530 View Post
                  I believe AAmetalmaster recommended the .030 tip with the .035 wire. I know it sounds backwards, maybe he will chime in. There is another post which says the smaller tip gives better control. I appreciate the response and it is why I asked.
                  Yup thats what i use. I quit buying .035 tips and use .030 for all of my wires for any wire .030 or .035...Bob
                  Bob Wright

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                  • #10
                    Thanks Bob!!!!!!!!!!

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                    • #11
                      there ya go, use what the guy that knows uses. If it works, that's all that matters!

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by aametalmaster View Post
                        Yup thats what i use. I quit buying .035 tips and use .030 for all of my wires for any wire .030 or .035...Bob
                        Okay, now I'm more confused. How does 0.035 wire fit through a 0.030 orifice?

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Goodhand View Post

                          Okay, now I'm more confused. How does 0.035 wire fit through a 0.030 orifice?
                          Things are not exact. Likely due to tolerances in the tip orifice, maybe even the wire itself.

                          To the OP, have you calibrated your spoolgun?
                          HTP Invertig221 D.V. Water-cooled
                          HTP Pro Pulse 300 MIG
                          HTP Pro Pulse 200 MIG x2
                          HTP Pro Pulse 220 MTS
                          HTP Inverarc 200 TLP water cooled
                          HTP Microcut 875SC

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                          • #14
                            Most tips are .010 -.014 bigger than whats stamped on them...Bob
                            Bob Wright

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                            • #15
                              After bird nesting my Millermatic 100 spool gun 25 times trying to weld .035 wire with a .030" tip I was about to list on eBay. I finally bought some .035" tips and didn't bird nest or ruin a tip in 2 hours working with the gun. Probably 40 minutes of welding. In summary if you use .035 wire use .035 tips.

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